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Race Heats Up in District 1

From Salina to Hutchinson and from Garden to Dodge City, voters will choose their next congressman.

Farmer and state Senate Republican Tim Huelskamp is up against businessman and former Salina Mayor Democrat Alan Jilka. Both are battling for the state's largest congressional district commonly known as "The Big First."

Huelskamp leads the race building on national Democrat and incumbent dissent that could change the power of Congress.

On the other hand, Jilka admits he's in a tough battle being a Democrat, but he says voters should look at his views for Kansas and not the Democratic Party on a national level.

Part of the anger is over President Obama's health care reform bill. Huelskamp has banked on the issue, saying he'll fight to repeal the law -- one he says most Americans don't want and is unconstitutional.

Jilka says he would have voted for the bill, but he believes it’s a work in progress that has good provisions, but others that can be improved. He says trying to repeal it is a waste of time.

Despite fundamental differences, both Huelskamp and Jilka say the economy and deficit are major issues they want to tackle. They agree there should be no more bailouts and that taxes should be lowered for working families and small business owners.

The idea that the folks in Washington currently feel they can borrow, tax and spend their way to prosperity simply is not working,” said Huelskamp.

On immigration reform, Huelskamp says Jilka wants amnesty for illegal immigrants. He says the borders should be sealed and is opposed to allowing certain privileges to children of illegal immigrants.

Jilka believes measures can be taken to tighten border security, but he also says deporting thousands of illegal immigrants would harm the economy further.

As voters head to the polls Tuesday, Huelskamp hopes to use the Republican momentum to come out on top. Jilka hopes for the same but with a base of experience in local politics and not the usual politics of Washington.

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